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Ted Talk 110: Why We Get Fat (And What To Do About It)

“It’s a lack of willpower!”  

 “Oh, you’re just lazy!”  

 “You’re not trying hard enough!”  

I bet you hear these excuses often. Or maybe, even worse, it’s that voice in your head that is repeating these words, and on top of that, you’re thinking: “There must be something wrong with me!”, “Everybody else can do it, but I fail every time!”, “I am never going to have the body I dream of because I am a failure!”…  

Well, it’s time to change your mindset! Because being fat is not your fault. There is an obesity epidemic affecting modern society, and today’s “obesogenic” environment encourages us to eat more and exercise less. 

But the first step to real, long-term fat loss results is understanding that you are not a failure, that being fat is not your fault. And then identify the causes of your obesity. 

In this new Ted Talk episode, Ted Ryce explains why your environment is making you fat. Also, he will reveal the mindset shift you need to make to transform your body. Plus, effective strategies to lose weight in this “obesogenic” environment we are all living in. Listen now! 

You’ll learn:

  • Why being fat is not your fault
  • Mindset changes that help you lose weight fast
  • What impact does the environment have on us
  • The reasons why the environment is making us fat nowadays
  • Why our hunter-gather ancestors didn’t have an obesity problem
  • Psychological stress and obesity
  • Unhealthy habits that leads to overweight and obesity
  • Can your partner sabotage your weight loss results?
  • The link between boundaries and obesity
  • What to change about your lifestyle in order to transform your body
  • Effective strategies to lose weight in a toxic environment
  • And much more


Links Mentioned:


Related Episodes:  

RTF 78: Motivation Isn’t Enough. Environment Literally Shapes Your Life

465: The New Science Of Fat Loss with Dr. Stephan Guyenet


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Podcast Transcription: Your Fat Is Not Your Fault. This Is What Makes You Fat...  

Ted Ryce: Do you ever doubt yourself because you're successful in other areas of your life, but when it comes to weight loss, when it comes to your health, you really struggle with it? And because of that struggle, it makes you even doubt your success in those other areas, especially if you're successful financially, especially if you've been a good student, especially if you excelled in college, excelled at your job, maybe started a company, made a lot of money, but you still struggle with your health and it really bothers you.

If that's you, then I want you to listen to today's podcast, because we're going to talk about why being fat it's not your fault. It's not your fault. And I'm not trying to soften this, I'm not trying to make it easier. I'm trying to tell you the truth here.

So, if you want to learn why it's not your fault, why the struggle is normal, you're in the right place. This episode is for you.

So, what is up, my friend, welcome back to the show! I'm your host, Ted Ryce, coach to busy professionals and business owners who want to lose fat.

And I'll tell you something, so many high performing people that I work with, they don't understand the fat loss game. And what do I mean by that? They internalize their lack of weight loss or their struggles with weight loss as a failure of who they are. In other words, they're a failure because they can't master this.

And here's what I want to tell you. There's responsibility on your end for sure. But when you think way, and put it all on your shoulders, I don't think you understand what you're up against when it comes to the environment.

And I'll just say it like this, what is making us fat? It's really simple. It's the environment. It's the environment that we're in. I'm going to explain this to you. Some people say “Oh, it's a lack of willpower!”, “oh, you're just lazy!”, “Oh, you're not trying hard enough!”

And I want to set you straight. It's the environment. What do I mean by that? Well, listen, obesity it's not an old thing. Well, actually, it is but the obesity epidemic, to the extent that it's affecting modern societies, like the United States, like Canada, like the UK, like Australia, like Malaysia, it's really clear.

I wanted to tell you something, I want to say to you like this, for the past three years since 2018, I've been living around the world. And in 2018, at the beginning of the year, I moved to Southeast Asia, to Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand, specifically, and they have an obesity crisis there.

And if you come from America, to Bangkok, Thailand... and they have an obesity crisis, you look around and everybody is skinny, but yet they have an obesity crisis. And what I'm getting at here is that we have the way things used to be, Thailand still retains quite a bit of this, most of where the money comes from in Thailand is from agriculture. In other words, they're farmers. They're outside, they're working hard. Some of it’s mechanized, I guess, some of it's not some of is still done by just hard labor.

And America used to be like that. And we see clearly as a society transitions from a more - I don't want to say more natural way of living, but for lack of a better way to describe it - a more natural way of living as they start to modernize, as they start to use more machines, as the workplace shifts from blue collar work, being out in the fields, doing things work in hard manual labor to sitting on your butt in an office doing mental labor, obesity rates skyrocket.

It's not just the workplace that changes, but it's also the things that become available. In other words, that Uber Eats, you go to Costco and buy massive portions, bulk portions of the processed foods that you love to eat. In other words, as serving sizes increase, as our sedentary lifestyle increases, as our psychological stress increases, and it goes from just “oh, hey, I'm trying to survive here!” to “Oh, what's the meaning of life?” And “how do we combat the corruption in politics?” and “how do we help the people that need it?”

As we shift from worrying about survival to how to thrive comes with a lot of what's called psycho-social stress. I mean, what I'm saying is you're not worried about where your next meal is going to come from, not really, you're not worried about whether a drought is going to kill all your crops and you're going to starve to death, or whether, the winter is going to be so cold that you won't be able to survive it, or whether, the summer is going to be so hot that you know what I mean, you're not worried about those things. Your environment is controlled, you've got your heat, you've got your central air conditioning, you've got plenty of food.

Even if we have a food shortage, there's still going to be plenty of food. It's incredibly abundant. ,I also want to tell you about a book that I've been listening to, “Burn” by Herman Pontzer. Now he's a metabolism researcher. And he did something kind of cool. He went to Tanzania, in Africa, and live with the hadza tribe.

And if you don't know the hadza, I've mentioned them here and there a few times throughout the past few years. They're popular tribe to talk about because they're one of the few hunter-gatherer tribes that still exist in this world that is rapidly globalizing and modernizing, there Starbucks everywhere, in other words, but not in where the hadza live.

They're still hunting and gathering. In other words, they've got to go out there and get their food every day. And they don't refrigerate it. They don't get lazy and say, “You know what? I'm just going to call Uber Eats tonight, because I don't feel like cooking”. They don't have those things. They don't have “hey, I don't feel like going to the gym. I'm just tired today”, because they have to go out there.

Because life is exercise. Getting food is exercise. But getting food isn’t exercise for you. In fact, you probably drive around five or ten minutes to find the closest parking spot to go to the grocery shopping, grocery market, grocery store, and try to do the least amount of exercise as possible.

You don't carry your food, you get a cart, and you push that cart around and the cart is easy to push around. If you really want, they give you those motorized scooters, so you don't even have to walk and push your cart around. We're becoming Wall-E. Like the people in Wall-E. I haven't even seen that movie, but I've seen photos of it, I get it right away. But the Wall-E. world that we're living in is very different from the hunter gatherer world that our ancestors grew up in, or even just 100 years ago, we didn't have this. And we're rapidly modernizing, we're spending more of our lives online.

So, if you're struggling to lose fat, of course you are, everyone is, even me. Now my struggle is a little bit different. I'm trying to get down to below 10% body fat, you might just be trying to lose just 10 pounds just to feel a bit better, just to fit into your clothes a bit better.

Maybe you're trying to go from obese to just overweight, or overweight to normal, you're not worried about veins on your abs, or striations in your muscles. But we're all struggling with this to some degree, because it's hard. And people out there saying, “Oh, I did it, you could do it too!”. And by the way, that's true. But whoa! Is it a big ordeal.

I'm not trying to turn you off in taking care of your health. By the way, I just want you to understand that it's not a simple or easy thing to take care of, is easier to make money. Our whole society is based around making money. It's like, “Hey, you want to make some money? Let's get together and make some money. Let's try to figure out how to make some money. Let's start a business. Let's come up with an idea. Let's do it. Let's do a startup. Let's get investors.” I think getting in shape in this environment it's one of the hardest things to do.

Why do you think I have a call to make sure someone's ready for it? You think I can just help everyone? You know, I've said this recently, I call myself a world class coach. And I believe that's true. But I also believe this: There are some people who I just can't help. And maybe one of the reasons why I'm so good is I try to make sure that I qualify people who can be my clients versus the ones who just have too much on their plate.

Because the reality is if you're - I was talking to someone recently - if you hate the job that you're in, but you stay in it, because you're comfortable and you're making money, make a comfortable living, but with the money that you make you spend part of that on eating, because that's how you deal with the negative emotions and the stress that comes from being in the job you hate.

And then you're in a relationship at home where your wife, or your husband aren't the healthiest and they make unhealthy choices. And then you kind of do some of the things that they do, you don't want to order dessert, but the next thing you know it's in front of you and you're eating it.

Or maybe you have kids and they're bringing home the goldfish and the chocolate and you're like “Oh man!” This is extremely hard to do. A body transformation is really hard to do. And it usually requires not just the education, the proper education where it's like, okay, let's track your food, let's do the right workouts, let's make sure everything's dialed in to cause the greatest amount of change in your body. Because that change is going to help motivate you and get you through the tough times.

A lot of it is like, what do you need to change about your lifestyle? I had a client who last week, they got so busy with their business running their business, they missed the call with me. And if they're unwilling to show up, and by the way, if you think this might be about you, I'm just using it as an example of a person who's highly successful in their business. And they missed the call. Why?

Because they felt, they believed or felt that they just had too much business to deal with. And they couldn't set a boundary to make time for themselves this show up on the call. So even the high performers, the people who are making millions of dollars are struggling with this.

In fact, I have another client Damon who got hired by a billionaire, shout out to you, Damon! He told me that every time I give him a shout out on the podcast, he has his kids listen, and he tells me he annoys them and tells them how famous he is.

So, I have another client, Damon, he's doing really well, grew his business from $300,000 a year to $65,000,000 a year in a ten year period. And he's doing really well right now. And recently he had a billionaire client of his who was flying him around and I asked him, I'm like “Damon, how is that built? How in shape is that billionaire client of yours?”

And he didn't - you know Damon is a very polite guy - and he didn't say anything negative. But I could tell billionaire guys is not in shape. Imagine having a billion dollars, except you can't solve this problem. Right? Or maybe he's not even thinking about it. Who knows.

But I'm just saying you would think if you got billion dollars, you have everything. If you have a private plane and you're flying around and you can spend the $10,000 in gas or $20,000, whatever it is, and gas and dirt on your private plane. You think you could solve anything you want. But even people who are worth a billion dollars are struggling with this. So put this into context for you.

And I was just talking to Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, if you're not following him on Instagram, you really got to, it's Dr. Nadolsky on Instagram. If you just look that up, you'll find them.

And he was talking about why I believe, you know..., we're we both agreed it's the environment. The environment is the big thing that's changed. The environment has driven the changes in obesity, and the obesity epidemic, the obesity rate that is now an epidemic is what we should say.

So, how do you combat it? Now he's a doctor and he works with some people who he feels they need weight loss medication, like Semaglutide, or even weight loss surgery. For me, I'm more biased with behavior change with coaching, in other words, lifestyle change. But either way, it takes a tremendous amount of work to fight against the environment.

I'm living an incredible life right now. My business is going well, I'm in a very happy place in my life. I mean, not everything's perfect, I don't want to give you that impression, but I'm in a great place in my life. And even still, I want to eat the almond croissant at The Choo Choo Cafe, this French Cafe that's right down the street. I gotta have my shit together enough to say no, so I can achieve the low body fat that I want to achieve, so I can achieve the health goal that I want for myself, the physique goal that I want for myself.

I feel great when I'm leaner, but it's not easy. Everyone is struggling with, this is a big deal. And whether you're using it, whether you're trying to change your behavior and using education or whether you take a drug like Semaglutide, or get weight loss surgery, you're fighting a bit of an uphill battle.

Now, if you have, there are things that make that uphill battle more steep. If you've got a lot of stress in your life, if you already have a lot of unhealthy habits, if you're not willing to set boundaries, if you're not setting boundaries and making time for yourself, whether that's setting boundaries with the relationships you have in your life, feeling like you always have to be there for your kids when you're slowly getting more unhealthy, more fat, lower energy, whether it's setting boundaries in your work, or with your job, I know people who just feel like they can't tell their boss that they need time for themselves.

A lot of people, they're working from home, and they're working more hours. And it's like they have a gym at home, and they can't use it because they don't set boundaries, or whether you're running your own business, and you're not setting boundaries there.

And also, if you're not willing to be flexible, in other words, a lot of people do the “all or nothing” thing, the “all or nothing” mindset, they get really strict, they're feeling great, they get results, but then something throws them off their game, and they get a case of the fuckits, “Oh, fuck it! Just gonna eat whatever, I'm going to go to town!’

That's a really unsuccessful strategy. That's the restrict binge strategy. That's the do it and quit strategy. When instead of quitting, maybe you just need to rest. I take breaks, I don't quit, I take breaks, I always commit to doing something. If I can be in the gym for two hours, then I'm in the gym for two hours. If I've got 15 minutes to work out at home, then I'll do a 15 minute workout. But I always do something.

So, some people have some beliefs, some limiting beliefs about this, some people have partners that work against them. When I was with my ex-wife, it was difficult to have the nutrition. Now she didn't struggle with her weight, or getting lean, she could just eat a little bit of something, but I ended up eating her food and I would get overweight and struggle with getting to the body fat that I wanted, having the body that I wanted. And I kind of blamed her.

And I realized, you know, for me, I need to be with someone in fitness, someone who's really into fitness. And I was dating someone who was a bikini competitor. And she was actually a positive influence on me. And I was actually a little bit of a negative influence on her, I got her eating dessert a little bit more. And I started realizing, you know, we don't need to, we can't eat out as much, we've got to not eat as much dessert and I have to support her. And I can't be the bad influence.

So, if you have a partner who's not supportive, that can be really tough. And if you're the bad partner, like I was when I was dating that girl recently, then it's up to you to kind of be better and to have that communication on like, we had a talk “Hey, listen, I don't want to sabotage you”, because she's trying to get in shape for the competition she's going to do soon.

And I didn't want to be the negative influence that I complained about in other relationships that I've been in. I don't, I don't want to be a hypocrite, right? Although I'll tell you, part of me is like “Oh, this is great! I'm the bad one. Now. I'm the bad one. Now, I get to be the bad one. This is great!”

But then I was like, “Don't be an asshole here! You're being a hypocrite! Let have a conversation, set some boundaries, establish some rules, so that both people feel that they're being supported, but also getting what they need”

Because I like the dessert and I don't want to not eat dessert because someone's trying to do a competition. I want to get lean, but I don't need to get that lean. I don't care about doing a physique competition, no interest in it, at least this right now in my life. And I don't see it being particularly interesting for me later in my life either.

So again, as I'm talking about this, I want you to think about your own situation and what you're struggling with. What is actually stopping you here? What is actually sabotaging you here? Because so many people they struggle with eating the right foods, or eating the right amount of food or getting to the gym consistently. Well, what is it that's keeping you from it?

“Oh, I'm just busy!” Okay, but how are you busy? Should you be asking some people to do things for you? Are you saying “yes” too much? Can you afford for someone to clean your house, but yet you feel like you got to clean it, because you're stubborn, or maybe you grew up poor, and you don't believe that you should pay other people to clean your room. to do something for you when you can do it?”

That's a limiting belief. And it's terrible. Hire someone to do that for you. You see that when someone's trying to grow their business, they have to delegate, but they don't want to give up control. Well, you got to, or else your business never grows.

But we don't apply that same type of thinking to our own lives and say, “Okay, well, who can I outsource this stuff to?” Hire a chef, if you don't want to cook, or get a meal delivery service, if you can't hire a chef, what's in your way? Maybe you need to have a conversation with your partner, your wife, your husband, maybe you need to have a conversation with your kids, maybe all of them. Maybe you're in a job that is stressing you out and you really got to get out of it or ask for a raise.

Maybe you're struggling financially and you need to find a way to tackle that part of your life. Because if you don't, you'll never have the the energy, the mental bandwidth to tackle your health issues.

Maybe you have a very successful business, and youmare kind of addicted to the success of your business and to making money. And you're sacrificing yourself your health in the process. I've seen that a lot, especially in Miami Beach.

I had a client die. No, not because I killed him on accident. And I don't mean to make light of it. We weren't very close to each other. But that guy came to the personal training session -this is when I was still a personal trainer -and he came late to the session, and he left early and he was grudgingly working out.

And then he was needed to leave early. And he was like “Oh, I got to get out of here! I got to get to work!” And guess what? Had some really bad breath. I mean, it was really bad. I didn't want to say anything to him, I didn't train him for that long. But he had this really bad breath.

And it turns out, and then he just stopped training with me,0 he just started asking, he's like “Hey, can you come all the way to my office?” And I'm like “No, that's way out of the way. I can't, I can't drive 45 minutes to go train you, I've got to be at other clients”.

And he was trying to end the relationship and he was successful at it. And he wasn't that, you know, I wasn't that motivated to keep it up. Because it was so obvious he just didn't prioritize his health.

But what happened he came down with stage four esophageal cancer, probably because he was overweight, obese, over eating, stressed out from work, and drinking alcohol, and eating very heavy foods, and then getting gastric reflux. And it started eroding his esophagus and it turned into cancer.

And he died. And you know what his wife said? I don't remember exactly. But she was like, “well, he got what he...” She wasn't that sad. I mean, I'm sure she was, but when she talked about it, was kind of weird. So, and he left behind two kids, and a wife, that was the type of relationship he had with them with his wife to where she's not “oh, he was such a good man!” There was none of that.

This guy needed some serious help, maybe not coaching, maybe even therapy. Maybe you need therapy. I've done therapy. I'm not pointing any fingers here. When my ex-wife and I divorced, I got therapy for a year to help me through it, I felt like my life was over when it first happened. And part of my life was over. That's why it feels that way.

And I did therapy. And actually, I want to go back into therapy, because now I want to get into a relationship and really be solid in that relationship. And I believe in prevention instead of the cure right now.

So maybe you need therapy. Or maybe you need a coach, maybe you don't need therapy, maybe you need a coach, because the therapist is just going to talk about some of your bad behaviors, or some of the behaviors you want to change. Let’s not call them “bad”, but some of the behaviors that are destructive to you and how to change them, where they come from.

But maybe what you really need is someone to help you through the process of learning the right information, applying the right information in your life, learning how to make it work, and dealing with the challenges that come up.

We live in a crazy world where fat loss coaching is a thing. If you move to Bolivia and lived with this Shimane, the hunter gatherers, or move to Tanzania, this wouldn't be a thing, I wouldn't have a business there, I wouldn't have a job.

The women are all around 18 to 20% body fat, they've actually done a study of the hadza, of their body fat levels, the men are all like 9 to 13% body fat, very lean, and the women are all like 18 to 22% body fat. Again, on the lean side. I wouldn't have a job there.

But because we live in this crazy world with all the changes, and everybody's stressed out because of social media posts and government making strange decisions and you know, the conspiracy theories on the other side, it's just pure craziness and all the process through it, all the stress, all the ways we learned to deal with it from our parents that were unhealthy.

I mean, my dad was an alcoholic he was obese, and so was my step mom, you know, I grew up with my step mom and my dad, and they were both obese and alcoholics, they tried to exercise, but always gravitated towards just drinking, and an eating too much. Very unhealthy for the family and for each other.

So therefore, fat loss coaches have a thing. I wonder if the hadza need psychologists either, they probably don't. Well, I'm sure they have someone in their tribe who deals with those things, deals with trauma and loss, but we have an environment that is very tough to deal with.

And so, as I want to wind things down here and a wrap things up, but I want to ask you: What is the thing that you're taking away right now? What is the big takeaway from this conversation? What is it bringing up for you? It's maybe not my words, maybe not something I said specifically. But what I said, the energy I brought today, it brought something up in you, what is that thing?

And then ask yourself, what is one thing I can do right now? Again, knowledge is power. Applied knowledge is. So, for knowledge to be power, you need to apply it. How do you take what you learned, what you took away from today, and apply it in your life to start improving?

What's one thing that you can do, and it could be for anything, could be for your health could be for your relationships, could be for your finances, your wealth, your business could be for anything. What is that one thing that you can do and take action on?

That's what I want to leave you with. I hope you enjoyed today's conversation, and I'll speak to you soon

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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